Woman convicted of killing Lakeland lottery winner Abraham Shakespeare seeks new trial (2024)

Woman convicted of killing Lakeland lottery winner Abraham Shakespeare seeks new trial (1)

The woman convicted in 2012 of killing a Lakeland man who had won millions in the lottery is seeking to be released from prison or given a new trial.

Dorice “Dee Dee” Moore, serving a sentence of life without parole for the murder of Abraham Shakespeare, filed a motion for post-conviction relief in 2017 and has submitted amended motions since then. Moore’s quest mainly rests upon claims that she received ineffective council during her trial, held in Hillsborough County Circuit Court.

Circuit Judge Michelle Sisco has denied some of Moore’s claims and dismissed others while allowing Moore to modify and refile them. The case has proceeded for years, and continued with an evidentiary hearing Wednesday in Tampa.

Shakespeare won a $17 million payment from the Florida Lottery in 2006. Prosecutors said that Moore befriended him in 2008, after Shakespeare had given away or loaned most of his winnings.

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Moore, then the owner of a nurse-staffing company, gained control of Shakespeare’s remaining money and killed him after he realized he could not get access to his money and became suspicious, prosecutors said.

Investigators found Shakespeare’s body in January 2010, buried behind a Plant City home that Moore owned. He had been shot twice in the chest, and a concrete slab covered the grave. Shakespeare had been reported missing the previous year, and authorities determined that he was murdered on April 6, 2009, at age 43.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office played a key role in the investigation and the search for Shakespeare. Law-enforcement officials said that Moore conducted an elaborate plan to mislead police and make it seem that Shakespeare was still alive long after she had allegedly killed him. Moore claimed that others were involved in the killing, such as a drug dealer named “Ronald,” whom prosecutors called a fictitious character.

Woman convicted of killing Lakeland lottery winner Abraham Shakespeare seeks new trial (2)

During sentencing at Moore’s trial, Circuit Judge Emmett Lamar Battles called her "the most manipulative person" he had seen and described the murder as "cold," "calculated" and "cruel."

In her initial filing from 2017, Moore made four claims of ineffective assistance of counsel, three based on her trial and one citing alleged failures of her appellate attorney. In April 2019, Moore expanded on those claims in a 48-page amended motion, which included a 10-page, handwritten addendum.

In that filing, Moore listed 12 grounds for seeking either a nullification of her sentence or a new trial. All involved claims that her lawyer, Byron Hileman, was ineffective in defending her during her trial. (Hileman, who operated a Bartow practice, died in January.)

Moore, now 50, claimed that evidence showed Shakespeare was alive months after the date prosecutors asserted that she had killed him, and she wrote that Hileman failed to investigate and present supporting evidence. She wrote that her lawyer failed to call witnesses who could have refuted the prosecution’s narrative.

Previously, from 2012:Jury Convicts Dorice 'DeeDee' Moore of Murdering Lottery Winner Abraham Shakespeare

Among other points, Moore claimed that her lawyer should have filed a motion to block “highly prejudicial” statements from a detective who said she had offered to get him a free room at the Hard Rock Casino in Tampa and perform sex acts for him.

Moore wrote that her lawyer failed to present a “reasonable hypothesis of innocence” to the jury.

In the amended motion, Moore also alleged prosecutorial misconduct, claiming that the state manipulated evidence during the trial and failed to share evidence favorable to her. She asserted that prosecutors allowed false testimony from witnesses.

Andrew Warren, then the state attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit, filed a detailed response in 2020 rebutting Moore’s claims. Warren conceded that an evidentiary hearing was needed to resolve parts of two claims involving blood and DNA evidence.

Moore appeared Wednesday at an evidentiary hearing in Tampa. Christopher Bolt, Moore’s former lawyer, testified for the prosecution and said the defense team had done nothing wrong, TV station WTVT reported.

At the hearing, Moore claimed that Lakeland police officers were taking bribes from drug dealers, WTVT reported. Robin Tillett, a spokesperson for the Lakeland Police Department, said that LPD had no comment on that allegation.

More:Mother of slain lottery winner Abraham Shakespeare's son wins $1 million jackpot in Lakeland

Sisco is expected to issue a ruling next month, WTVT reported.

The Shakespeare case attracted national attention as Moore went to trial. His murder has been the subject of documentaries and episodes of such TV programs as “Snapped” and “Web of Death.”

Gary White can be reached at gary.white@theledger.com or 863-802-7518. Follow on Twitter @garywhite13.

Woman convicted of killing Lakeland lottery winner Abraham Shakespeare seeks new trial (2024)


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